This is a problem recording, and even fans of Leonard Bernstein and Marilyn Horne will find it odd. The Maestro's tempi are weirdly slow, Horne sings the role note-by-note rather than phrase-by-phrase, and when she finally does decide to emote, in the final scene, she sounds like she's gone loony. James McCracken was an artist with a huge but unappealing voice who also had brains and power, but he's no delight for the ear.
This is a worthy reading of one of Massenet's best scores, thoughtfully conducted by Kent Nagano. Anne Sofie von Otter combines intelligence and a beautiful voice with passion and conviction in the complicated character of Charlotte. Tenor Jerry Hadley is occasionally afflicted by a musical-theater tendency to croon but expresses most of the torments of the title role, while Dawn Upshaw makes a better-rounded character of Sophie than the average soubrette.
Veteran Italian rock band Pooh formed in Bologna in 1966. During the late '60s, the band featured Roby Facchinetti, Valerio Negrini, Dodi Battaglia, and Riccardo Fogli, but after Negrini left in 1971, the band recruited guitarist, bassist, and vocalist Red Canzian plus drummer and percussionist Stefano D'Orazio, and began a long run as one of the best and most popular Italian rockers of their times. The band recorded for many labels, including CBS, Vedette, CGD (Compagnia Generale del Disco), and Warner Music Italy, selling over 100 million records in the process. Pooh continued to tour and record continually up into the 2010s, but in late 2016 they decided to call it quits by the end of the year, in order to complete their 50-year anniversary as a band.
Christoph Willibald Gluck has a place in the history books for a few big hits and for the idea of reforming the ornate style of opera seria serious opera in the 18th century, replacing it with a more natural ideal of melody. This reputation has rested on a very few pieces, and both bibliographic control and recorded explorations of Gluck's music are perhaps more sparse than for any other major composer.
Recorded live at a concert in the large hall of the Musikverein in Vienna in November 1991, this performance of Verdi’s dramatic Requiem is really commanding. The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and the chorus of the Vienna State Opera respond appropriately to Abbado’s exciting but not over-operatic handling of the work, and the recording is admirably clear. The soloists are a fine and well-matched quartet.
ASHFORD & SIMPSON are quite simply one of the best song writing duos the world has ever known. Being former Motown hit writers and having written a string of hits for greats like Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Marvin Gaye and Diana Ross, its little wonder that they were inducted into the Songwriters Hall Of Fame in 2002. 1982’s STREET OPERA was the first album to be recorded by ASHFORD & SIMPSON on Capitol after nine years with Warner Records and is considered by many fans to be their best offering from the 80s. Written and produced by ASHFORD & SIMPSON, the album gained a top 50 Pop chart position reaching #45 and a top ten R&B spot getting all the way to #5 and served as a warm up to the massive success they later enjoyed with SOLID? in 1984.